These pages contain program notes written for Redwood
Symphony. You are free to use the information in your own program
notes. If you quote me directly, please attribute it. Thanks!
These notes were edited, amended, and otherwise
improved by Eric Kujawsky, Peter Stahl, and others.
Fanfare for Louisville
Born in Warsaw, Witold Lutoslawski first began composing music at age 22. He
studied piano, violin, and composition, graduating from the Warsaw Conservatory
in 1937. His early compositions (for example, the Symphonic Variations of 1939)
favored folk music themes, perhaps in part because the repression and censorship
of the Nazi occupation during World War II frowned on more modern influences.
After the war, Lutoslawski began employing the twelve-tone techniques
espoused by composer Arnold Schoenberg in works such as Funeral Music (1958),
and first experimented with aleatoric music in Jeux Vénitiens (1961). "Aleatory"
means "pertaining to luck," and in such music, the composer leaves
some portion of the composition up to chance. For example, the composer might
notate a particular pattern that a performer must play and indicate roughly how
many times the pattern should be repeated, but let the performer decide when and
how fast to play each repetition.
In 1985, Lutoslawski received the first Grawemeyer Award given by the
Louisville Orchestra. As thanks and in honor of the orchestra's 50th anniversary
in 1987, the composer wrote his Fanfare for Louisville. The fanfare is very
short, and features opening aleatoric sections for brass, followed by marching
brass chords contrasted with brilliant trills from the woodwinds.
April 6, 2008